Cygnus Cargo Ship Arrives at Space Station

Cygnus approaches ISS (Credit: NASA)
Cygnus approaches ISS (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 9:26 a.m. EST. Cygnus will be the first cargo ship to be berthed to the Earth-facing port on the Unity module.

The spacecraft’s arrival will support the crew members’ research off the Earth to benefit the Earth. The Cygnus is delivering more than 7,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory to support dozens of approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 45 and 46. Science payloads aboard Cygnus will offer a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria and other microorganisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite that will be deployed from the space station; and experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids, clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel, and evaluate flame-resistant textiles.

Cygnus also will deliver replacement cargo items including a set of Microsoft HoloLens devices for use in NASA’s Sidekick project, a safety jet pack astronauts wear during spacewalks known as SAFER, and high pressure nitrogen and oxygen tanks to plug into the station’s air supply network.

The spacecraft will spend more than a month attached to the space station before its destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in January 2016, disposing of about 3,000 pounds of trash.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #Cygnus. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit:

  • JS_faster

    They’re not really “bolted on”. More like latched. 😉 But good job. A whole bunch of Orbital folks get to have a happy Christmas this year!

  • Hug Doug

    There are bolts, which are driven to complete the capture process.

    First stage of capture is the latches, second stage is driving the bolts.

    You’re not wrong, just not completely correct.

  • Chief Galen Tyrol

    “You’re not wrong, just not completely correct.”

    How diplomatic of you 🙂

  • JS_faster

    LOL. Yeah, I was in such a hurry to be funny I mixed up CBMs with CDAs…

  • Hug Doug

    At least I try to be :p

    JS_faster generally makes good comments, and it IS partly correct, So I wanted to make it clear that I was adding to the comment, rather than correcting it.

    Plus it’s almost Christmas, so Santa is watching, so I can’t be mean all the time anymore.


    Santa is not watching!
    That is a myth, that many Christians tell their children.

  • mattmcc80

    Not that aesthetics actually matter, but I much prefer the symmetry provided by the roundish UltraFlex panels and the cylindrical spacecraft over the previous look.

  • Aerospike

    I too like the look of the round UltraFlex arrays. I’m just surprised that (according to the images i’ve seen so far) they appear to not track the sun?

  • mattmcc80

    I’d be surprised if they weren’t able to track the sun, but I suppose it’s possible that they opted to do without that option. Back when Orion was to go this route, they were certainly going to do sun tracking.

  • Aerospike

    Yeah, I remembered the old Orion animations as well.

    I just found this video of the Cygnus OA-4 solar array deployment and at the end of it you can see, that they in fact are able to rotate towards the sun:

    Maybe the arrays had to be commanded into a specific fixed position for ISS approach and grappling. 🙂

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    Although, don’t know that Santa has any official religious affiliates. Also, “xmas” is an ancient pagan festival hijacked by later religions. Seasonal greetings to you and have a merry christmas/Christmas/xmas/???.


    Seasonal greetings to you as well!!
    Saw an opportunity to politely correct Hug Doug 🙂

    Has to religion, I don’t agree with any popular Religions

    Yesterday will taking my holiday visiting Kids to the Local swim center, I took the time to talk to a very nice man and his wife that had said hello to me many times before. I learned he is from Iran visiting his two sons that are studying engineering. You could tell how genuinely kind and wonderful this person is. Though he is not Christian while he is visiting America he said he is going to church every Sunday for the community and friendship.

    Wonder to hear of an example of religion helping bring us together, Not apart!

    Season Greetings

    When we do go to space my wish is that it not be Star Wars!

    The dreamer

  • Hug Doug

    Over 80% of non-Christians celebrate Christmas.

    Santa Claus is really a secular figure, whatever tenuous associations with Saint Nicholas there may be really don’t come out in the car and toy commercials these days.

  • duheagle

    Religious festivals on or around the Winter Solstice are common to most ancient extinct religions including the Roman Saturnalia. Christianity is hardly unique in “hijacking” dates in late December for rites and observances. When Ron Karenga invented Kwanzaa, for instance, he could have picked, say, July 31 to plop it down on, but instead went with the tried and true Winter Solstice-adjacent part of the calendar.

  • windbourne

    Yeah. Is that not the same type that dragon had and stopped due to sticking issues?

  • windbourne


  • windbourne

    You think that it is a myth?
    Every Xmas eve, we go to sleep under the tree, and I always have to leave (get called out to check a server, go shopping, whatever) and while I am gone, my kids tell me that Santa comes. And presents are always there.
    So, it appears that it is not a myth, though I can not say that I have seen it.

  • PK Sink

    “How diplomatic of you :-)”

    Yeah, what’s up with that?

  • Paul451

    “Your mum and dad, one day a year, for no particular reason, just out of the blue, suddenly decide to give you a great, big pile of presents. …No, no, no, because they love you so much! It’s a lovely story, dear. …But it’s time to start living in the real world, yeah?”

  • AeroWorld

    Said the guy getting coal in his stocking this year.